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Research Project: DEVELOPMENT AND PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Physical activity and screen-media-related parenting practices have different associations with children's objectively measured physical activity

Author
item O’connor, Teresia - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Chen, Tzu - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Baranowski, Janice - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item Baranowski, Tom - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Childhood Obesity
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2013
Publication Date: 10/1/2013
Citation: O’Connor, T., Chen, T.A., Baranowski, J., Thompson, D.J., Baranowski, T. 2013. Physical activity and screen-media-related parenting practices have different associations with children's objectively measured physical activity. Childhood Obesity. 9(5):446-453.

Interpretive Summary: Physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight for children. Parents are an important influence on children's physical activity either by promoting more physical activity or by promoting less sedentary time, in the form of screen viewing (TV viewing and videogame playing). In an analysis of baseline data from an active videogame intervention, children (9 to 12 years old) wore accelerometers for a week to measure their physical activity. One parent of each child reported on their physical activity-promoting parenting practices and their parenting practices to restrict or co-view/play TV or videogame with their child. The availability of screen media equipment in the child's bedroom (often controlled by parents) was reported by the parents. Associations of children's objectively measured physical activity with parenting practices and screen media equipment availability were investigated. The study found that very few parenting practices for screen media use were associated with parenting practices that promoted physical activity for their child. Statistical models showed that parenting practices that restricted TV were associated with less child physical activity, while parenting practices that supported physical activity were associated with more physical activity among the children. Increased availability of screen media equipment in the child's room was associated with less physical activity and more sedentary time. We concluded that in a cross-sectional study, restrictive screen media and supportive physical activity parenting practices have opposite associations with children's physical activity. These associations need to be further investigated in longitudinal studies to tease apart the bi-directional effect of parenting and child behaviors. However, given the consistent finding of availability of screen media equipment in children's rooms and less physical activity, recommendations to remove screens from children's bedrooms may also affect their physical activity.

Technical Abstract: Children's physical activity (PA) is inversely associated with children's weight status. Parents may be an important influence on children's PA by restricting sedentary time or supporting PA. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of PA and screen-media–related [television (TV) and videogame] parenting practices with children's PA. Secondary analyses of baseline data were performed from an intervention with 9- to 12-year-olds who received active or inactive videogames (n = 83) to promote PA. Children's PA was assessed with 1 week of accelerometry at baseline. Parents reported their PA, TV, and videogame parenting practices and child's bedroom screen-media availability. Associations were investigated using Spearman's partial correlations and linear regressions. Although several TV and videogame parenting practices were significantly intercorrelated, only a few significant correlations existed between screen-media and PA parenting practices. In linear regression models, restrictive TV parenting practices were associated with greater child sedentary time (p = 0.03) and less moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA; p = 0.01). PA logistic support parenting practices were associated with greater child MVPA (p = 0.03). Increased availability of screen-media equipment in the child's bedroom was associated with more sedentary time (p = 0.02) and less light PA (p = 0.01) and MVPA (p = 0.05) in all three models. In this cross-sectional sample, restrictive screen-media and supportive PA parenting practices had opposite associations with children's PA. Longitudinal and experimental child PA studies should assess PA and screen-media parenting separately to understand how parents influence their child's PA behaviors and whether the child's baseline PA or screen media behaviors affect the parent's use of parenting practices. Recommendations to remove screens from children's bedrooms may also affect their PA.